On average, a cigarette can shorten a smoker’s life by around 11 minutes. Research has shown that smoking reduces life expectancy by seven to eight years. About 90 percent of lung cancer cases and 30 percent of fatalities from cancer is related to smoking.

Deaths related to smoking are due mainly to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart disease, and cancers. Smoking-related illnesses kill around half of all smokers. The younger a person begins smoking, the higher the chances of smoking for longer, and dying early from smoking-related diseases.

Smoking is a hard habit to break because tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Like heroin or other addictive drugs, the body and mind quickly become so used to the nicotine in cigarettes that a person needs to have it just to feel normal.

People start smoking for a variety of different reasons. Some think it looks cool. Others start because their family members or friends smoke. Statistics have shown that about 9 out of 10 tobacco users start before they’re 18 years old. Most adults who started smoking in their teens never expected to become addicted. That’s why people say it’s just so much easier to not start smoking at all.

Cigarettes produce about 12 minutes of smoke, yet the smoker may inhale only 30 seconds of smoke from their cigarette. The rest of the smoke lingers in the air for non-smokers and smokers to breathe. Whether we like it or not, many of us breathe smoke. We usually get them in public places, around doorways of buildings and at work. When someone smokes inside a home or car, everyone inside breathes second-hand smoke. When a person smokes near you, you breathe in second-hand smoke.

Second hand smoke is produced when a cigarette burns. It is made up of two components. One is mainstream smoke which is what a smoker inhales and exhales. The other is side stream smoke that comes from the end of a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe.

Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Many of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. Moreover, second-hand smoke causes sore eyes and throat, nasal irritation, headaches, coughing and wheezing, nausea and dizziness. One can also get colds and the flu. Breathing in second-hand smoke can also trigger asthma attacks and increase chances of getting bronchitis and pneumonia. The longer a person is exposed to second-hand smoke, the more it will affect one’s health.

The only thing that really helps a person avoid the problems associated with smoking and second-hand smoke is staying smoke free. Limiting exposure to secondhand smoke may seem easy, but sometimes it is not, especially if everyone around is smoking and offering cigarettes. One can keep his or her home and car smoke free by smoking outside. However, remember that smoke can linger for up to 2 and half-hours, so opening a window or leaving the room doesn’t really count.

No amount of second-hand smoke is safe. However, one piece of advice for smokers; stopping the habit makes a great difference to their health, and it is never too late to quit, not only a smoker can benefit from its healthy effects, it can also save another person’s lives.

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